My timing was off today. I came so close to doing something almost heroic but my wonky reflexes betrayed me.
I was taking the bus home at rush hour on one of those newfangled wheelchair-accessible models that seem to make everyone feel challenged in one way or another. They feature windows that don’t open and a set of stairs at the back that lead to an awkwardly placed selection of seats designed by someone who’s never actually ridden a bus.
Anyway, I was sitting in the rear section when someone passed beside me to descend the steps. This woman took one step down when the bus lurched to a stop so violently, she flew backwards against the steps.
I lunged forward to try to catch her before she fell but it was too late. She came crashing backwards with a thud that made everyone wince in sympathy. I helped her up and gathered her papers that had fallen out of her bag, but that only seemed to make things worse as she kept saying how embarrassed she felt.
She insisted she was okay and clearly just wanted to get off the bus. So rather than forcing unwelcome assistance on her, I stepped back and let her be.
Maybe sometimes the best deed of all is what you don’t do.